After a month away I’m happy to say that I’m back home again and am attempting to get back into the swing of blogging here at ProBlogger.
The last month has been an incredible journey of many distinct parts.
Let me attempt some sort of a recap:
16 – 17 March – Melbourne to LA – with a little fear and a lot of excitement V and I packed up and headed for the airport with Xavier. The idea of a 14 hour flight (which turned out to be 17 hours with delays on the tarmac while Qantas searched for 200 missing bags – including mine) with an 8 month old was daunting – but he did remarkably well (we all did).
We were in Beverly Hills while in LA this first time and so my first impression of the USA was Rodeo Drive – not a realistic first impression I know. I only had a morning to get myself adjusted to the time zone before heading up to San Francisco (V, her mum and X stayed in LA for some fun). My missing bag showed up literally 30 seconds before leaving for SF.
18 – 20 March – Elite Retreat - Elite Retreat San Francisco was a blast. I got to meet some long term online friends and learnt a lot from the other speakers. San Francisco as a city was really appealing to me. I only really saw a small part of it (mainly from Taxi’s, in hotels and in restaurants) but the vibe was relaxed (more relaxed than anywhere else we went in the US) and I would really like to get back there for an extended visit.
21 – 25 March – Washington DC – after flying back to LA late on the 20th we left bright and early the following morning for Washington DC. While the family saw a lot of DC I only really had a morning of site seeing before needing to get to the conference that I was in town for (Yanik Silver’s Underground Online Seminar). The conference was very different to Elite Retreat. For starters there were 500 in attendance instead of 30 – secondly it was a gathering of internet marketers – thirdly, they had lights and fireworks in the opening ‘ceremony’.
I’m not sure what I was expecting from Underground Seminar but I was a little daunted by the prospect of tackling the audience there as my previous experience of internet marketing was that it could be very hyped, not overly relational and at times spammy. While some speakers did fit this bill – the majority of them were very down to earth, genuine and helpful in their presentations.
Yanik himself is a great guy – very humble and relational. His attendees were also very warm and welcoming to me.
I learned a lot over these days – both from the content presented but also a lot about how to connect with this audience. I had some great feedback from my presentation but think that if I were to do it again that I’d tackle it a little differently.
Overall it was a fun few days – I just wish I had more time to see more of DC which I really enjoyed. The morning of site seeing I did do was one of the best days of the trip as we took in the main sites (we had a gorgeous day and saw the Mall, Whitehouse and a lot of the memorials in that area).
26 March – 3 April – New York – on the 26th we took the train from DC to New York City (a pleasant trip followed by the stress of trying to get all our luggage from the station to our hotel (traveling with a baby means many cases!)
This week or so was largely about vacation. We covered a lot of ground and had a great time. I’ve always wanted to visit NYC and wasn’t disappointed.
Of course there was a little blogging business while in town – particularly the ProBlogger meetup which was a real highlight. Also while there I managed to grab breakfast with Steve Rubel and had an afternoon of site seeing with Dan and Sara Blank – all of which was great (I find a city comes alive the more time you spend with people who live and work in it).
New York City is a wonderful place to visit – there’s always something or someone to see/watch and so much to do. I’m not sure I could ever see myself living in a city like that however. While I love cities NYC was just a little too crazy at times and made me appreciate the city I live in (which had some similarities but is quieter, more open, cleaner and a little less…. crazy).
While I’m not in a rush to move there I am looking forward to my next visit in June – so much more to see and new friends to catch up with.
4 – 11 April – Toronto – this week was largely about b5media. While we did have a few days off over Easter to see the city it was very cold and difficult to see a lot due to the weather. V had never seen snow before so that was a treat and we did get to see a few museums and to go exploring the maze of undergound tunnels/shops/subways.
The highlight of Toronto for me was meeting some of the new b5media team that we’ve hired in the last 6 months since I was last in Toronto and others which have been with us for a longer time who I’d not yet met (Christina, Chad, Darcie and Gary).
The main focus of our meetings in Toronto were strategy, review and dreaming. We also spent some good time getting to know each other and building the team spirit. There was also some interviewing of potential team members (there will be some announcements in the coming weeks).
12 – 16 April – Los Angeles – after the cold of Toronto LA was a welcome relief. This last few days was all about relaxing and getting ready for the trip home. We stayed in Santa Monica and had a great time exploring the neighborhood (and shops).
16 – 17 April – LA to Melbourne - once again I was a little daunted by the trip home with Xavier. In the month that we were away he grew up so much and became a lot more active so the thought of containing him for such a long time was a little scary – but he did really well and slept for 10 hours (as opposed to my 35 minutes sleep).
So now we’re home again and it’s catch up time for me. For starters I need to catchup on sleep (jet lag sucks) but once that’s out of the way email and unread RSS feeds are the order of the week (it’ll take at least a week).
Please have a little patience with me over the coming days as I get things back to normal. There will be a few more ‘reader questions’ coming up and in the next day I’ve got a two part interview with Gina from Lifehacker – but hopefully by the weekend things will be back to normal.
Let me finish this post with a big thank you to my wonderful guest bloggers from the last month. I’ve very much appreciated your posts. Thanks to Neil, Wendy, Glen, Chris, Liz, Aaron, Mark, Karen, Lorelle, David, Chad, Alister, Matthew and Mike.